Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday Sweets: Hanukkah Blues

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Given that Hanukkah is traditionally celebrated with foods fried in oil, it's no wonder that Hanukkah cakes aren't terribly common. However, in honor of the occasion I've hunted down the best I could find, and then threw in some gorgeous wintry wonders, too.

Let's start with one of the best: a gorgeous hand-painted design by Dahlia's Custom Cakes:

WOW. Clean, modern, and vibrant. Love it.


I've given Wilton some good-natured grief before, but I've gotta hand it to them: this Hanukkah kids' cake is adorable!

Full instructions on how to make it yourself on the Wilton site here.

Some beautifully detailed cookies:

Made by Cookie Crumbs


And believe it or not, this menorah is actually made of royal icing:

By Cake Central member bankruptbaker

I know: I can hardly believe it, either! Just amazing.

That's the extent of the Hanukkah-specific Sweets I was able to find, but while searching I also found these fabulous winter-themed treats:

By Melissa of My Cake School

That snowman topper made me squee like a little girl. Or a very big geek. One of the two, anyway.


I am in awe of Dimitrana's skill. Not only are her cakes gorgeous on the outside:

Even the reindeer is handmade!

...her cakes are just as impressive inside:

Those are vertical cake layers, kids. I have no idea how she did it, but she claims instructions are somewhere on her blog. (And while you're there, check out her amazing acorn cookies!)


I'm loving this swirly snowflake topper:

By For The Love of Cake

Such a neat design: you can almost hear the wind whipping through the snow flurries.


And check out the sculpting on this one:

By Cakes By Roselyn

Ah, this restores my faith in the airbrush, right here. Beautiful.


A bit more subtle on the winter theme, but this piping work blows me away:

By Martha Stewart Weddings

If only I had hands that steady. And talent that...uh...talented.


Ok, and just one more from Dimitrana, because I can't help myself:

A cake candle! How cool is that?

And once again, there's a surprise inside: it's a giant jelly roll.

Well, once again, Happy Hanukkah, everyone! (Oh, and if you bakers could see your way to making more Hanukkah cakes, that'd really help me out. Yeeeeah. Thanks.)


Have a Sweet to nominate? Then send it to Sunday Sweet [at] Cake Wrecks [dot] com.
Anonymous said...

Aren't Hanukkah cakes rare because they're leavened, and you can't eat leavened food during the holiday?

Brenda said...

The vertical cake layers are made just like a jelly roll. Bake a thin layer of cake, roll while hot, then unroll & fill. She cuts hers into strips before rolling up with the filling. The cakes on her blog are actually spirals, not concentric circles. If you want to read about it yourself, first type this word in her blog search "торта" then click to translate the blog to English. Doing it the other way around doesn't bring any results.

Anonymous said...

Just to be facetious...what's a "squee"?

Anonymous said...

That's passsover-you can't eat unleavend foods during passover

Nikki said...

I'm pretty sure you can make a vertical layered cake by essentially making it a swiss roll that stands upright. Tricky to do, though, as cake is much more delicate than your usual swiss roll sponge...

Anonymous said...

BTW, those cakes are all so adorable

Anonymous said...

I really wish I had a reason to make a Christmas cake. Then I could try my hand at the vertical cake layers and maybe a snowfamily, or reindeer, or santa, or ...

M said...

Anon 9:42 -

Chanukah is all about the fried food.

Passover is the non-leavened holiday.

Hope this helps!

M said...

Ps - Jen, The secret to the vertical lines in the cake is a jelly roll. A REALLY large Jelly Roll. If you cut into it, it looks like vertical lines.

Kat said...

The Google translation of Dimitrana's site is charming, too. Seems as though the vertical layers is her thing, she uses them a lot, Cool to see her techniques :o)

Brianne said...

Jen~
I was compelled to hunt through Dimitrana's site till I found out how she does the vertical layers. It's actually deceptively simple! She iced sheets of cake and rolled them around the center, adding sheets as needed. Brilliant! And the cake is another for your Sunday Sweet's category!
Here's the link:
http://translate.google.com/translate?client=tmpg&hl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fdimitranas.blogspot.com%2F&langpair=bg|en

Rosemary said...

wow!! the Hanukkah cakes are just stunning! the wintry ones are too bad, either... tee hee!!

mladybright said...

Lovely!!! Now, this is what cake is supposed to be! I'm so glad for Sunday Sweets - restores my faith in decorators.

Brenda - thanks for the tip on the ropra!

~~Di

wv - vitorga --- there's a few things I could say about this one, but as I just watched one of his hilarious routines, I have to say it's shorthand for anything Victor Borga!

sdfsdf said...

With regards to leavening, remember that most Jews are not Orthodox, or even Conservative. The vast majority 80-90 percent do not keep Kosher.

Kayla said...

The post with the vertical layers is here:

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&langpair=bg%7Cen&u=http://dimitranas.blogspot.com/2009/03/sweet-sprig-cake-step-by-step.html&rurl=translate.google.com&client=tmpg&usg=ALkJrhhhJinyu4oNEkuibhehksyyPEAOlw

It's a super cute cake, too!!

ev said...

What I have never been able to figure out is how anyone can cut into these beautiful cakes!! They are always so stunning, I could just stare at them forever.

And then there is the rest of the week, which makes you want to cut into them just to make them disappear forever.

Fluffy Cow said...

The Hanukkah cakes are beautiful! Love the hand painting on the first two. The candle cake is also so exquisite!

I'd make a comment about Jewish holidays and leavening a kosher vs non kosher... but that is what the internet is for.

Swan said...

Beautiful cakes! I was wondering what's on the other two sides of the hand painted Hanukkah one?

Jeannette said...

I went to Dimitrana's blog to look at the rolled cakes and found the Google translation hysterical for the blueberry cheesecake. Good humor. At one point, it says to: "Mix and leave the country."

mickeyp415 said...

as always, the cakes are gorgeous. the first two hanukkah cakes were done similarly to a peacock cake you had posted previously -- with the artwork done in something of a stained glass-like of art.

the multi-tiered white/blue cake with all the white lattice work on the blue layer... outstanding. and the one with the little deer, so cute! (ok, they all were pretty spectacular.)

thanks again as always...

Melissa said...

I'm so excited to see my cake! Glad it made you squee :0)

Anonymous said...

See all the things I learn from this blog? The difference between Passover and Chanukah. What will make me squee and what will induce my gag reflex. How long I can read on a daily basis before I collapse in laughter.

fixer said...

Okay, I get why the fried stuff...but how the heck does challah fit into that? (I'm currently being pestered for challah. I told him I'd make it for 8th night. Hopefully he won't see the fancy cookies until next week sometime. :P)

Anonymous said...

That second cake reminds me of when they decorated Cinderella's Castle in Disney World to look like a cake-all the turrets were candles that looked EXACTLY like these candles!!

Jenn in GR said...

That Candle Cake "blows" me away! I love all these cakes. Thanks for brightening my Sunday!

Lurker on the Doorstep said...

Also, for the Passover/Channukah people, there are plenty of non-leavened cake recipes out there. They even sell unleavened boxed cakemixes for the lazier Jews on Passover.

Stunning cakes!

Anonymous said...

Amazing Christmas cakes!! There are incredibly lovely.

Alysa said...

I absolutely LOVE the Silver Reindeer & Candle cakes!!!

Anonymous said...

that candel cake made me say OH WOW! LOOOOOVE IT!!!!!

Karen said...

Absolutely stunning! Both the holiday and the season cakes. :-) I love Sunday Sweets!

The Hoffman Kids said...

Anon 9:42, I do hope you're joking. I will give you the benefit of the doubt.

Fixer, challah is for Shabbat (the Sabbath) - that's irregardless of Chanuka, so it doesn't have to be this week. Chanuka foods are potato pancakes and jelly donnuts.

Too bad that two of the Chanuka cakes feature un-kosher menorah. (They're actually called chanukiyas - A menorah have 7 branches, a chanukiyah has 9.) The candles have to be in a straight line in order for it to be "kosher" - not for eating, obviously but to be allowed to light it according to Jewish law.

Anonymous said...

Here is the link to how Demetria does vertical layers. She basically does a jelly roll vertically on top of a thin layer of cake. Very cool!
http://translate.google.com/translate?client=tmpg&hl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fdimitranas.blogspot.com%2F&langpair=bg%7Cen

Shadow said...

@Fixer

Challah is for every Friday for the sabbath (shabat).

or for any decent hunk of french toast

Greene said...

The "Martha Stuart Wedding" cake is actually I believe by Creme de la Creme in the DFW- at least they have a giant mock up in their bakery (they're making my wedding and groom's cake!)

Anonymous said...

My boss is fairly observant, and when I noticed that he was not taking any time around Hanukkah, I asked about it. He said it is such a minor holiday, it's not a big deal. A friend posted a great Hanukkah explanatory link on FB and here it is... http://www.cracked.com/blog/8-questions-gentiles-love-asking-about-hanukkah/
Keep the Han in Hanukkah!

Herouth said...

Ah, since nitpicking has already started, I'll join the dance.

Third cake from the top features cute dreidels. Too bad that they spell the letter ח instead of ה. For non readers of Hebrew - the left leg of the character that looks like a capital Pi should not be connected to the top, but have a little gap. They are two different letters. One sounds like "h", the other like you're choking on your cake. :-S

@The Hoffman Kids: Hanukkiah is a Hebrew neologism. It was coined in the late 19th century by the wife of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda. As such, it's a permissible term, but the traditional name for it was indeed "Menorah" and there is nothing wrong about it. It simply describes a vessel for lighting candles, and you can find it in books of Halachah.

Anonymous said...

the martha stewart cake is not piped but stencilwork

JennyF said...

I love your Sunday sweets posts, and this one especially! I read it with my girls, ages 5 and 7, and love to hear them "ooo" and "aah." Thanks for digging up these beautiful works of edible art.

Deirdre said...

Gorgeous cakes! That little snowman on the topsy-turvy cake is so adorable I want him on display at my house!

Anonymous said...

here is the web link to find out how she did the vertical layers- you have to read between the lines for the translation (I use google translator)

http://dimitranas.blogspot.com/2010/11/blog-post.html

Allison Stuart said...

Oh MY gosh! I looooove these winter cakes. LOVE!

NZNeep said...

Is it just me or is the Martha Stewart cake covered in piped vaginas? Spell check wants me to change that to vaginae. For serious.

Beth said...

The beautiful cookies are from A Dozen Eggs bake shoppe - I think Cookie Crumbs was the name of Laura's blog. A Dozen Eggs bake shoppe And I can tell you they taste as good as they look! :)

Anonymous said...

My Cake School is totally stoked they made your site for Sunday Sweets...I have them as a Facebook friend and was going to tell them I saw them here...but they knew about it already.

EG said...

I know it's called Cake WRECKS, but Sunday Sweets is my favorite. That first Hanukka cake? Awesome.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! All of the cakes are wonderful, but I especially like Dimitrana's and the one from Cakes by Roselyn. On the Menorah cake, is the shawl also made of edible material? Learning a lot about Jewish traditions here, a plus for a friendly blog. Thanks to all.
~physicsmom

Pilgrim said...

These are some of the most beautiful and incredible cakes I have ever seen in my whole life... thank you for sharing!

Pam said...

This post is a pure winner! Actually, I've come to be disappointed if there is no CW post for any given day! Entertainment AND education! Who could ask for more?

Ruby Re-Usable said...

wow, what a winter wonderland!

I think NEXT year, I am going to have to request some Hanukkah cakes from our various bakeries, just to see what we get (a Sunday Sweet or Weekday Wreck ;-)

LOVE this blog, LOVE this post, thank you for all the spit-take humor AND all the SQUEE prettiness

Hanukkah Sameach
חנוכה שמח

Laura P. said...

I sat at my computer with my jaw on my desk for about a minute straight at those vertical layers! How immensely cool. And the cake was gorgeous to begin with. As is the candle one. Is that a real candle on top, too?

All the cakes today are fabulous! That menorah? Wow. I am once again blown away by the talent some people have. Great post as usual.

Anonymous said...

The candle cake is cool - but all I'm seeing is the snowflakes along the side... Did a ninja snowman chuck them at the cake? What made him so angry? Was it the fire on top?

Jacqui said...

WOW! OMggggg those winter theme cakes are A-MAZING.....I want one so bad! Although what on earth would you celebrate with a winter cake??

Arlene said...

Holy cow those are all so gorgeous! I wouldn't even dare cut into those I would just sit and stare much as I am doing lol.

Susan: My Food Obsession said...

WOW, there are some really talented people out there!

laura said...

http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=bg&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fdimitranas.blogspot.com%2F&anno=2

Leah_the_Nosher said...

1. Jen - thank you for doing Chanukah cakes. After scouring the supermarkets and box stores for Chanukah paraphernalia that includes more than the end of a shelf and three nearly sold out items, it is a relief to see some gorgeous stuff.

2. Can't believe I'm weighing in on the halachah (Jewish law), but here goes:

a) You eat only unleavened foods on Pesach aka Passover. Some of the best cakes are made during this time, from pavlovas to sponges to baked alaska. So shove over on that one and enjoy the fried Chanukah deliciousness.

b) It is a hey and not a chet. They outlined the top of the bottom leg in perfectly piped royal icing. Or stencil. Or who cares. It's gorgeous.

c) Jews keep kosher on one level or another throughout the denominations. :Raises hand:--> Reform Jew who keeps kosher.

d) Challah is especially made for Shabbat (the Sabbath), but is served at other celebration times, as well (the New Year, weddings, etc). If anyone's interested in a recipe, I've got nine up on my blog at the moment.

e) Speaking of which, Jen, my tag line is "Share and Enjoy." If you know the reference I will officially squee. Just sayin.

Trevor said...

LOL Well, these are all great, but I see that people are really getting a lot of use out of PME's snowflake plunger cutters!

ania said...

Dimitrana's creations are amazing! Thanks for the link to her site.

Anonymous said...

Hanukkah has nothing to do with leavening. That is Passover. However, the traditional food are fried in oil which is why cakes are not a big thing.

lori said...

While your photos of/comments about awful cakes & cookies are guaranteed to make me laugh out loud, even when I'm feeling very blue, I have to commend you for also showing us incredibly beautiful works of confectionary.

The Hanukkah cakes & cookies you posted today were absolutely delightful!

Thank you so much for making me smile each & every time I go to your blog!

Oh, and Happy Hanukkah!

Lori

elsangel said...

hm..look delicious cakes..

Audrey said...

"Given that Hanukkah is traditionally celebrated with foods fried in oil"

I just happen to be curious... Doesn't "frying" always imply oil?

Diane {Hershey, PA Photography} said...

No matter what the occasion, those cakes are beautiful! Sundays are my favorite days to check out your blog....so many truly cool creations!!

FancyFingers said...

Aw, I want to make those acorn cookies, but I can't make heads or tails of the translation. I wonder if someone could post a coherent recipe... "solid oil?"
Chandra

Len said...

Would fellow CW readers be aware of other's comments before posting their own? pleasie pleasie pleeease? Some are witty and fun and I always try to read them all but all those Epcots keep in the way.. :(

We're here for the fun; if we wanted a lecture we would be in College instead.

I'm sorry / end of rant.

Aliza said...

Thank you for the stunning Hanukkah cakes and winter cakes. It reminds me of how lovely winter is Or would be, if it werer *warmer*! (the skiing snowman, or Nellie's wee snow-family, and the Martha Stewart cake -- nice.)

@Herouth-- I was wondering if anyone else noticed that misspelling on the cookies. And thanks for explaining the origins of hannukiot-- I thought menorah was incorrect, too. The things one learns from reading Cake Wrecks comments :)

@Jaqui-- I can think of two things to celebrate with a winter cake. (1) my birthday, and (2) the 80 cm of snow that thwomped down on parts of my province did NOT hit my city, so I haven't had to shovel yet (pause for happy dance). (For the Americans reading, that's 4" shy of three feet. In two days. Yes, that broke a record.)

BTW, if people want to see another Hannukah related error that, since it doesn't involve cake, can't be submitted to CW but CW fans will find amusing-- check out what one New York deli used as a promotional item for Hannukah: http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/food/2007/12/06/2007-12-06_balduccis_offers_ham_for_chanukah.html

=0)jessica said...

yay, bring on the Festivus cakes!

Dimitrana S. said...

Oooh.. Wow! What a great surprise!

To find my cakes here really is a big compliment for me!
I´m so happy, that you liked my cakes! Thank you very much!

Best wishes & :-)))

Devorah said...

These cakes are amazing!

Becca said...

Does anybody have any idea how to make the sweet acorns there's a link to? The google translation isn't particularly helpful ('Eggs are beaten with sugar and vanilievata pinch of salt foam. Sift the flour, add beaten with powdered sugar butter...'). I've tried searching for them on the internet, but no luck so far (I even tried in bulgarian, but that was even trickier than i thought it would be).

I could probably work it out from the blog, but I'd like to make them as xmas gifts, and it would just be so much easier if someone knew how to do it already!

Becky Dawn said...

Here's a link to the directions for the vertical layers (I'm sorry for how long it is.); just scroll down and you'll see what looks like a tree stump:

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&langpair=bg%7Cen&u=http://dimitranas.blogspot.com/search/label/%25D0%25A2%25D0%25BE%25D1%2580%25D1%2582%25D0%25B8%2520%25D0%25BF%25D1%2580%25D0%25B0%25D0%25B7%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B8%25D1%2587%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B8%2520-%2520Feierliche%2520Torten%2520I&rurl=translate.google.com&twu=1&client=tmpg&usg=ALkJrhiy8Jjh8dgGj8UwkiT_s9dKPUywCQ